Secret Affairs 2

Secret Practices


Mr. drs. W.J.M. Aerts en Dr. G.G. de Valk

Recommended prior knowledge

You must have followed Secret Affairs 1 to be able to follow this course. 


Within this course, students will gain further insights in the functioning of intelligence and security agencies. During tutorials, students will deal with a specific case, within which gained knowledge and trained skills ought to be applied.


Knowledge and insights

One will find that previously gained knowledge during Secret Affairs I is given more depth and further insights in Secret Affairs II.

Furthermore, relevant skills are built upon in order to develop these further and eventually put to the test of a real-life case. Also, students will learn more about the following topics and skills:

1.            International cooperation between intelligence and security agencies

2.            How to produce intelligence analyses and indicate intelligence failures

3.            The rise of topical issues such as privacy, national building, counterinsurgency and the hunt for internationally organized criminals

Application of gained knowledge and insights

Students are expected to be able to apply the following to cases and situations:

1.            Knowledge on methodology and-, core aspects of this new discipline of intelligence

2.            the ability to select relevant sources, know how sources may interact with one another and the weighing of internal and external criticism of sources through a specific annotation schemer

3.            recognition of causes of intelligence failures

4.            critical evaluation of the mandatory reading materials

Weighing and valuing sources

In order to make students aware that weighing one’s sources is of utmost importance for this field, mandatory reading materials will not only reflect upon several visions and opinions. But also, the guest lecturers presenting case materials come from a great variety of backgrounds.

Registration at

UvA students can enroll from 8 December 2016 onwards using the course code 55122SEP6Y in SIS.

Contract students and students from other institutions can enroll through the registration form. 


Lectures and tutorials


See the timetable of this course here:[52982]

Study materials

Digital course instruction and the book: Michael Herman (2004) Intelligence Power in Peace and War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


See  here


Assignments, presentation and written exam. The questions on the exam will be based on the mandatory literature and the content of the lectures.


This course is a part of the minor Intelligence Studies. For more information about this minor, please take a look at  here or send an email to  Willemijn Aerdts.

Once you finished all courses that are mandatory for the minor programme, you will obtain a certificate. You can file a request for this by sending an email to the  IIS servicedesk

Conditions for admission
Preliminary training necessary
6 ECTS, 8 weeks
Language of instruction
Starts in

Published by  Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies